Dixie Carter: TNA vs. WWE, Wrestling Being Socially Relevant
The Tennessean has an interview up with TNA President Dixie Carter. Here are some highlights:
What has kept professional wrestling relevant: “Wrestling has been around for centuries. It encompasses action-drama, good guy/bad guy, and good and evil. When you combine all of that with some of the best wrestlers in the world, it’s a recipe for success.”
How TNA has changed with the times: “We’re not just a wrestling company anymore. We do our own booking. We do our own promotion and public relations. We’re a licensing company. We have toys, Halloween costumes, trading cards. We make our own music. All of those things are sold and promoted around the world. But we still do more than 500 hours of television a year.”
Competing against WWE: “I don’t care who you are, competition makes you better. There’s a reason there’s a Lowe’s across the street from every Home Depot and a CVS across the street from every Walgreens. I think we’ve made WWE better, just as they’ve improved us.
Misconception about wrestling that she dislikes: “Besides that wrestling is fake, which is certainly isn’t. Just the way the industry has treated sponsors, the media or just people in general. Wrestling had a bad reputation for a while. People thought it was trashy. But that’s changing. I went to a legitimate sports network and the head of the company said, ‘Are you kidding? We have the Lakers and everything else.’ I popped in a tape and he said, ‘OK, let’s talk.’”
Ongoing challenges: “When a company first starts out, you have to do whatever you can to get into the business. Then, once you’re established, you spend a lot of time getting out of all the bad contracts that got you into the business. Deals with companies, bad partnerships or licensing deals. We’re still working through some of those now that we’ve found our footing.”
If the U.S. recession has hurt them: “We went from double-digit growth for a couple years to single-digit growth. I call that a major victory. But the biggest challenge we had during the recession was so many of our partners were going out of business. Our TV partner in Africa went out of business. Our DVD partner in the United Kingdom went out of business. Our Australian DVD partner went out of business. Weeks after our video game publisher, Midway Games, put out our video game, they filed for bankruptcy. (The game still sold 1.5 million units.) After the recession, we just worked hard to plug all the holes fast.”